After a 9-0 shellacking of the New York Yankees on Friday, the Tampa Bay Rays look for a series win this afternoon.
At 73-57 on the season, Tampa Bay enters play a season-high 16 games above .500 and percentage points ahead of Seattle for the top American League Wildcard spot (one ahead in the loss column). They are also five games behind New York in the AL East and four in the loss column — the closest the Rays have been to first place since May 30th.
Jeffrey Springs got the start Friday and scattered four hits and three walks while striking out seven across 5.2 scoreless frames against the Yankees. Springs worked out of several jams and was able to get whiffs when he needed them. He backed his seven strikeouts with 18 swinging strikes across 97 total pitches (19% SwStr%), and he has now struck out at least seven hitters in each of his last three turns. In eight outings since the All-Star Break, Springs maintains a 2.74 ERA and 2.30 FIP, with a 4.27 K/BB, and a 1.22 WHIP across 42.2 frames.
Meanwhile, the Rays took advantage of the Yankees’ fourth-inning mistakes to push across the only run they’d need on the night, before piling it on late. With one out and Domingo Germán on the bump, Harold Ramírez reached on a Josh Donaldson fielding error — one of two on the night after the trash-talking third-baseman chirped at Springs from the dugout. Randy Arozarena hit a slow grounder to third, and this time Donaldson threw wide of first. Ramírez tried to score on the infield hit and the subsequent throwing error, but was thrown out at the plate by right-fielder Oswaldo Cabrera. Nevertheless, Arozarena wound up at third. David Peralta followed with a two-out single to center.
Before they poured it on in a six-run eighth inning, Christian Bethancourt hit his ninth homer of the season, and fifth with Tampa Bay, putting the good guys up by three (which they later stretched to nine).
José Siri, who pinch ran for Isaac Paredes, crossed the plate twice last night. Siri has made a huge impact on the team since his trade deadline acquisition, scoring 65% of the time he has reached base safely (excluding pinch running opportunities). While he has an unquantifiable je ne sais quoi about him, it certainly doesn’t hurt that Siri boasts 100th percentile sprint speed and great instincts on the base paths.
The New What Next
Corey Kluber (9-7, 4.21 ERA) will get the start this afternoon, pitching opposite Clarke Schmidt (5-3, 2.89 ERA).
Corey Kluber gave up three runs on eight hits while striking out four over six innings Sunday against Boston. Kluber was tagged with three solo home runs in Sunday’s win. It was the first time Kluber had given up multiple home runs in a start since May 10. He now sports a 4.21 ERA and a 3.71 FIP, with an excellent 6.56 K/BB through 134.2 frames. In spite of all that, Kluber owns a 1.50 ERA in three starts against the Yankees this season.
Clarke Schmidt allowed four runs on eight hits and a walk with seven strikeouts across 4.1 innings Sunday against the Athletics. Schmidt allowed a pair of runs in each of the first and third innings, while the Yankees’ sputtering offense couldn’t cover the damage. This was Schmidt’s second start of the season and his first since June 16. It was also the right-hander’s longest major-league outing of the season. Through 37.1 innings with the Yankees, he’s posted a 2.89 ERA and a 3.50 FIP, with a 1.34 WHIP, and a 1.89 K/BB in 18 appearances, mainly as a long reliever. Schmidt has allowed one run on four hits (including a homer) across 5.2 combined innings against the Rays this season. Key Matchups: Yu Chang (1-1), Yandy Díaz (1-3), Harold Ramírez (1-3, 2B), Taylor Walls (1-2, 2B)
You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.
Rays 9/3/22 Starting Lineup
- Díaz 3B
- Margot RF
- Aranda 2B
- Ramírez 1B
- Arozarena DH
- Peralta LF
- Mejía C
- Siri CF
- Walls SS
— Rays Manager Kevin Cash said it is “highly unlikely” high-leverage reliever JP Feyereisen will return to the Rays’ bullpen this season.
Feyereisen had progressed to facing hitters and felt fine in live batting practice while rehabbing with Triple-A Durham, however, he advanced no further in his rehab due to an unusual bone bruise in his throwing shoulder. He hoped for a mid-September return, but Cash conceded that he is “probably done for the season.
— Shane McClanahan received a cortisone shot in his left shoulder on Thursday and returned to the Rays’ clubhouse on Friday. The team remains optimistic that McClanahan will return around the time he’s eligible to come off the IL, on September 15.
As far as I know, he’s feeling as good as we possibly could have hoped and we still are optimistic it’ll be a short stint.— Peter Bendix
— Back at the Trop for further treatment, Wander Franco worked out with the team and hit off velocity on September 2 and said he was feeling “super good” and “very close” to restarting his rehab assignment in a few days. If everything goes as planned, Franco could rejoin the Rays after two or three games with Triple-A Durham.
— Tyler Glasnow faced hitters in live batting practice on September 1 in Durham. If his between-outings bullpen session goes well, he is expected to start a Minor League rehab assignment and pitch one inning for Durham on September 7.
While the team is building up Glasnow like any hurler returning from Tommy John surgery, he could pitch in some capacity before the season is over.